In The News: Health Care

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The Massachusetts (health care) experiment

Jun 4 2013

By Amanda Gengler, CNN Money

Still with more employees signing up, overall benefits costs rose -- the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimates that businesses spent an extra $500 million in 2012 due to reform.
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Most towns poorly prepared to pay for retirement benefits

Mar 4 2013

By David Riley and Michael Morton and Laura Krantz, MetroWest Daily News

“Over time, it will take more and more of the budget,” said Michael Widmer, president of the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, which issued two recent reports criticizing the benefits. “There’s no dodging it.”
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Patrick bill targets unfunded liabilities

Feb 26 2013

By Michael Hartwell, The Lowell Sun

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, called the freeze a "poison pill." He said the benefits promised to government employees within the state were unrealistically high and provide much more than what any private-sector employer gives today. Widmer added that the bill will give few savings over the next decade.
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Municipal health care reform leads to $205 million in savings

Jan 25 2013

Hopkington Crier

“This is among the most meaningful municipal reforms in decades, and its success has surpassed all expectations,” Michael Widmer, the foundation’s president, said in the release. “The early and widespread adoption by communities across the state shows the importance of this tool in providing municipal budget relief, both now and for years to come.”
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Massachusetts must act on retire health care reform

Jan 24 2013

By Michael J. Widmer, Ashland Tab

Building on the success of municipal health reform, the Legislature has an important opportunity in 2013 to address the issue of retiree health care liabilities that threaten to strangle the finances of cities and towns in Massachusetts.
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Editorial: Cheers & Jeers

Jan 18 2013

Cape Cod Times

"While most of the recommendations are positive, the commission's recommendation to prohibit municipalities from ever adjusting their share of premium contributions once an employee retires is a major step backward," said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, in an email. "Such a change would erode the most important existing power that municipalities have for controlling retiree health care costs and create a huge roadblock to achieving greater savings."
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Editorial: State retiree health system needs major reforms

Jan 16 2013

The Boston Globe

The administration estimates its plan would cut the state and municipal unfunded liability for retiree health care from $40 billion to about half that. However, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation puts the state and local liability at about $47 billion, and estimates that the proposed changes would trim it by only about $8 billion.
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Patrick seeks higher health payments by retirees

Jan 11 2013

By Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe

Michael J. Widmer — president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed budget watchdog group — called the governor’s plan “a good first step.” “It is a real reform,” said Widmer. “We don’t necessarily agree with everything, but, as a general matter, these are positive recommendations that reflect the enormous liability that the state and municipalities face for retiree health care that they can’t pay fo
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Reforms to help solve our fiscal problems

Dec 7 2012

By Scot Lehigh, The Boston Globe

“Federal deficit reduction, a more slowly growing national economy, an aging workforce, and several other factors will produce a new permanent reality of tight state finances even in good economic times,” says Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
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Doubts weaken health cost data

Nov 12 2012

By Chelsea Conaboy , The Boston Globe

The double-digit increase in 2011 prices in the survey doesn’t correlate with what seems to be happening in the insurance market, with carriers holding costs down and negotiating new contracts with doctors and hospitals, said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “There’s a lot of other evidence that we slowed the rate of growth of costs,” he said.
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